News / Middle East

UNHCR: Africa Refugee Crisis Overshadowed by Syria

Lisa Schlein
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees says the plight of millions of refugees and displaced people in Africa is being overshadowed by the crisis in Syria. To mark World Refugee day, the UNHCR is appealing to the international community to remember that Africans who are forcibly displaced by conflict also are in need of support.

Worldwide Refugee Figures for 2012

  • 7.6 million people were displaced
  • 23,000 persons per day were forced to leave their homes
  • 35.8 million people were protected by the UNHCR
  • More than half the world's refugees came from Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, Syria and Sudan
  • Women and girls accounted for 48% of the refugee population
The U.N. refugee agency reports there are more than 45 million refugees and internally displaced people around the world.  This is the highest level of displacement since the Rwanda genocide and breakup of the former Yugoslavia in 1994 caused millions of people to flee their homes.

UNHCR spokesman, Adrian Edwards, says conflict is the primary cause of displacement.

“Over the last year in particular, the big game changer has been Syria.  Syria went from being the major refugee hosting country of the Middle East to last year being one of the top five refugee and displacement producing countries of the world," said Edwards. "This year it is number one.  That is a very alarming turnaround and that makes a major change in the global displacement picture."

Source Countries for Refugees (Click to enlarge)Source Countries for Refugees (Click to enlarge)
x
Source Countries for Refugees (Click to enlarge)
Source Countries for Refugees (Click to enlarge)
As a continent, the UNHCR says Africa is the second largest producer of displacement in the world.  Asia, largely because of Afghanistan, is the biggest.  Currently, Africa has 2.8 million refugees and some 10 million internally displaced people.

While these numbers are huge, Edwards says the drama of crises like that occurring in Syria tend to eclipse other ongoing crises.

“You have, just in the last year some very serious refugee crises - some new ones and some continuing ones in Africa.  You have the Mali situation.  You have a big crisis in Central African Republic," he said. "Now we are seeing recent displacement across borders from northeast Nigeria.  We continue to have Africa’s world war - the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  There are, having said all that, some glimmers of hope in the situation and some positives that have happened over the last year."

Last year, Edwards says a number of long-running refugee crises in Africa came to an end.  He says more than one-quarter of a million people were voluntarily repatriated to their homes of origin in Angola, Burundi, Ivory Coast, the DRC and Liberia. 

He says there are hopeful signs that Somali refugees might one day begin returning to the homes they fled years ago.  But that, he adds, will only happen if the country continues down the path of peace and stability.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Audio Top 5 Songs for Week Ending May 23

This week's lineup can be summed up like this: 'It's The Same Old Song' - but they're great songs - featuring Walk The Moon, The Weeknd, Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Bakhtiar Basher Husein from: Iraq
June 20, 2013 12:54 PM
Terrific data and shocking in the same time. International Refugees concern is mostly an outcome of differentiation of national interests of powerful countries in the international arena.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmakingi
X
Bernard Shusman
May 24, 2015 2:55 PM
According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.
Video

Video Effort Underway to Limit Damage from California Oil Spill

Cleanup crews are working around the clock to remove oil from the waters off the coastal city of Santa Barbara, in California. About 380,000 liters of oil may have leaked out before a rupture in an onshore, underground pipeline was discovered Tuesday. The environmental disaster hit the popular West Coast resort area before the Memorial Day weekend. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports investigators have yet to determine what caused the incident.

VOA Blogs